Lord Berners: The Triumph of Neptune; L’uomo dai baffi; Valses bourgeoises: Polka

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COMPOSERS: Lord Berners
LABELS: Marco Polo
WORKS: The Triumph of Neptune; L’uomo dai baffi; Valses bourgeoises: Polka
PERFORMER: English Northern Philharmonia, Royal Ballet Sinfonia/David Lloyd-Jones
CATALOGUE NO: 8.223711
The Right Honourable Sir Gerald Hugh Tyrwhitt-Wilson (1883-1950), 14th Baron Berners in the peerage of England, was an extraordinary and eccentric figure, who enjoyed lasting friendships with Diaghilev’s circle, including Stravinsky. Berners’s creative muse was well suited to the theatre, as in the ballet The Triumph of Neptune, here recorded complete for the first time. Written for the Ballets Russes, it reveals a kind of British Satie, abounding in elegance and wit, commodities to be valued in music as in life. He described the score as ‘variegated as a Christmas tree. You will find a little of everything in it… and above all it is not in the least “modern’’.’ L’uomo dai baffi (The Man with the Moustache, 1918) was composed for a puppet theatre in Rome, in collaboration with Alfredo Casella. Both this and the engaging Valses bourgeoises are arranged by Philip Lane, who also contributed the substantial and illuminating booklet notes, a model of their kind.

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The music’s virtues are felt in these sympathetic performances. Lloyd-Jones and his orchestra have achieved a valuable addition to the catalogue, their success enhanced by a clear, well-focused recording. Terry Barfoot